Review of Silversea Silver Muse and trip to Japan September/October 2023
Part 4 of 4
After the amazing time we spent in Kyoto, we traveled on to Tokyo. It was New York City on steroids. So many large towers of buildings, offices and apartments. Our hotel, the Prince Gallery Kioicho was on the top floors. Our room was on the 34th with amazing city views, especially at night. The room had a long window seat with pillows across a room width window. Electronic curtains and blackout shade. This room was also large by Japanese standards. We had a huge walk in shower for two. The hotel bar looked out on the wonderful city view as well. We had club level, which was on our floor. Unfortunately, no breakfast served, except coffee, and maybe a small sweet. This was unusual for a club. There was afternoon tea, and also a cocktail hour with small bites. This club also looked out over the view. The restaurants were not good, noisy, devoid of ambiance, but had the view, and we went elsewhere. Because the hotel is in a large building, the first 3 or 4 floors had restaurants, shops, a mini mart, and a small supermarket.. A couple of coffee shops, with outdoor seating, nice for breakfast.
We had wonderful concierge service here as well. The staff made sure our dinner reservations were in an accessible venue, and also arranged Kabuki tickets for us. The staff always made sure I had a vehicle that would accommodate the wheelchair everytime we went out. This is such an easy city to navigate. We were able to take taxis everywhere, and they were easy to get wherever we went. Our concierge always gave us a paper with our destination in kanji, and we kept a hotel card with its address in kanji as well for our return. The hotel is located near the Imperial Palace, and we were told it was the Political area. It was nice to not have hoards of tourists and noise outside the hotel. Yet, it was close to all the areas we went to visit.
One of our first stops, was the fully accessible Senso-ji Shrine. There is even an elevator into the shrine, built to look as though it was always there, so mobility challenged individuals can make devotion without climbing many stairs. There is a five story pagoda on the property. This is in the Asakusa neighborhood, great for strolling around afterwards, with many shops and restaurants in small narrow streets, very atmospheric.
At this point in time, I think my husband was Buddhist Temple, Shinto Shrine, and Japanese gardened out! We decided to do more city things here. We did go to the National Museum and the Modern Art museum which were both great. The National is really a few different museums and by Ueno park where the zoo is located. This was the only place in the entire country we visited that we saw a few homeless people in tents.
We got tickets to Team Lab Planets, which was an immersive visual experience. Such a lot of fun, and reminiscent of the Van Gogh show we saw in Los Angeles. We were able to participate in almost every experience. We opted out of the water one, where it could come up to your knees. They gave me an inside wheelchair, and parked mine. Every room was a totally different feel, and so cleverly implemented. Definitely Instagram popular!
We did our shopping in Tokyo, heading to the well known restaurant kitchen wonderland Kappabashi to purchase some magnificent knives. We met some chefs while we were there at Tsubaya, we definitely recommend this shop for quality and expertise. We also made a stop in Harajuku to pick up anime gifts, and also to an iconic department store in Ginza, Mitsukoshi. Two basement floors of food stalls to make your mouth water. There is also an exhibition space and we found an Art Aquarium installation that was just amazing. A unique find.
We went one evening to Shibuya Crossing, famous in movies, TV, and music videos. It made Times Square look small. About 3000 people cross every 2-3 minutes, in all directions. Multiple video screens above, and tons of advertising. There is also an area you can walk with no traffic with lots of shops and restaurants, and karaoke bars. This is also the site of the famous dog statute, that patiently waited for his master for years, after he passed away, and did not come home from his office.
Our last evening we attended two different Kabuki theater performances. No photos allowed here sadly. One was dancing, and the other more traditional theater. The translation headphones were pretty useless, just read the program. Most of the female parts were still played by men. We enjoyed it very much. Some last minute gift shopping for Japanese tshirts for the grandkids at the Uniqlo store. If we had more time we could have gotten custom shirts, or at least personalized. The ones we saw and we leafed through the books, looked really fun.
We did find really fun T-shirts for all the grandchildren here. Think dumplings, sushi, noodle bowls, and also dragons, geisha, ninja, and even Hokusai’s wave
The marathon trip back home is never easy, but we are so so glad we made the effort to travel to Japan and explore this amazing country.